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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Shaq, Kobe make peace

By John Nadel
Associated Press

Kobe Bryant, right, said Shaquille O'Neal's comments to him before the game, "made me feel good." O'Neal said, "I had orders from the great Bill Russell," on burying the hatchet between the two stars.

MATT SAYLES | Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES Shaquille O'Neal got the word from Hall of Famer Bill Russell to make peace with Kobe Bryant, just as Russell once did with Wilt Chamberlain.

O'Neal followed Russell's advice.

Bryant then went out and scored 12 of his 37 points in the last 8 1/2 minutes to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-92 victory over O'Neal and the Miami Heat last night.

Bryant said O'Neal first approached him while he was stretching before the game, and congratulated him on the birth of his daughter and the impending birth of a second child.

"It made me feel good," Bryant said, adding he was surprised at O'Neal's gesture. "We've been through so many wars together. Now, just be able to move on, try to do the best for this team, wish him the best in South Beach.

"I think it's good for the city of Los Angeles, good for the NBA, good for the youth, being Martin Luther King Day."

After the initial contact, the longtime protagonists shook hands, embraced briefly and exchanged a few words at center court when the team captains and game officials met before the game. They exchanged another hug before the opening tipoff as the fans at Staples Center voiced their approval.

"I had orders from the great Bill Russell," O'Neal said. "Me and him were talking in Seattle the other day, and he was telling me how rivalries should be. I asked him if he ever disliked anybody he played against, and he told me, 'No, never,' and he told that I should shake Kobe Bryant's hand and let bygones be bygones and bury the hatchet."

Lamar Odom had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers (21-17), who won for the sixth time in seven games.

Dwyane Wade had 34 points and seven assists for Miami (23-16), which had its four-game winning streak snapped. O'Neal had 18 points and 10 rebounds.

O'Neal and Bryant spent eight tumultuous seasons with the Lakers, teaming with current Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson to win three championships. Jackson left the team a month before O'Neal did and took last season off before being rehired in June.